As anyone who has made the acquaintance of Bunmi Ajayi can attest to, the Victorian broker cannot hide his genuine passion and exuberance for the insurance broking industry.
In September, that passion was saluted on the Australian broking’s biggest stage – the NIBA Convention.
In his 26th year in the industry, Ajayi was named the 2015 NIBA Broker of the Year, in recognition of his work with Megalines Insurance & Risk Advisers, which he runs as an AR of Westcourt General.
He says he has a straightforward formula for success: the success of his clients.
“I bring to my profession an ability to proactively anticipate my clients’ needs. I’m always wearing the client’s hat and saying to myself, ‘what would I expect of my insurance broker in this situation?’ And whatever the answer is, I venture to go beyond that. I go the extra mile,” Ajayi says.
“Understanding, patience, passion, integrity, technical knowhow and empathy are attributes that I bring to my job on a daily basis. Somehow, these attributes filter through to my service and the clients keep coming. My clients see me as the insurance expert so I wake up every day with a mission to always earn that title.
“Most of my working time is spent thinking about insurance. Knowledge of what is out there, market intelligence, how the so-called fine print within individual policies compare, all for the benefit of staying ahead of the game and positioning myself to provide up-to-date quality advice to my clients.”
Putting clients first
Although a client-first focus is Ajayi’s key to keeping business prospering and maintaining professional integrity, he says adding value to all aspects of his business relationships, not just his clients, keeps him satisfied and ready to face the next challenge.
“What really gives me a kick is adding value to others, be it clients, my staff, vendors, strategic partners or any of the stakeholders in the insurance chain. Being able to turn clients’ pain points into pleasure points through a proactive approach and dexterity in claims handling gives me more satisfaction than any money can buy,” Ajayi says.
“It’s a great feeling to see your actions directly put smiles on the face of another.”
When asked to share his vision for the future of the industry and his career, Ajayi is quick to identify challenges that the industry is set to face as opportunities for growth, rather than barriers to navigate.
“My picture of the future is exciting because I see a continuation of disruption in infrastructure, vehicle and delivery platforms of the insurance business through information technology. I believe more insurance business transactions will continue to have an online and automated component to them. Speed, reach, cost efficiency – these would continue be the positive gains of this,” Ajayi says.
“This excitement also introduces an interesting dynamic, knowing that valuable and trusted advice from brokers cannot be replaced by computing power.”
Taking the outlook that his clients are the key to his success, he maintains there will always be a place for brokers. “Human intuition and experience will always be in fashion,” he says.
But this privilege warrants protection. Ajayi says it is the responsibility of all brokers to promote their worth by communicating the value they add, not just to clients, but to society as a whole.
“For our profession not to be endangered in the distant future, as brokers, we need to maintain our relevance in the risk management space by honing our skills and ensuring our clients appreciate the value of good advice over cheap pricing,” Ajayi explains.
“As an industry, we need to communicate more visibly our value proposition, as a partnership that allows individuals and businesses to spread their wings and go where they might otherwise not have dared to go.
“Over the years, we haven’t done this well enough. This has contributed to a fair amount of misinterpretation of the insurance industry, leading to a biased reputation in some cases. Our role in socio-economic stability and national development of any nation is positively huge and we need to be proud to showcase this.”
As his prize, Ajayi has won an all expenses paid business development trip to the US, valued at $20,000.